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Scott Dekraai

Stakes rise in jailhouse informant case as judge blasts O.C. sheriff

Stakes rise in jailhouse informant case as judge blasts O.C. sheriff

Nearly four years ago, an Orange County trial judge presiding over a mass-shooter case gave an order that seemed straightforward enough. He told the Sheriff’s Department to turn over information regarding its use of a jailhouse informant who had implicated the defendant.

As a consequence of that order — and the botched, contradictory responses to it — the case of murderer Scott Dekraai has mushroomed into a far-reaching controversy regarding the use of cell-block informants, and how far authorities might go to conceal it.

The stakes mounted Thursday, with the U.S. Justice Department launching an investigation into whether the Orange County district attorney’s office has...

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